This paper, using nationwide survey data of Japanese third sector associations, examines the composition of the Japanese third sector and its transformation, focusing on the period of association founding and the distribution of resources. By doing so, we can grasp how the third sector has formed with the influence of various social and political changes.
The main findings of this paper are as follows. First, third sector associations are classified into three groups depending on the period of founding. In the early post war period, many production sector associations or cooperative associations were founded. In the late 1960s-1970s, many associations were founded by governmental support. Since the late 1990s, incorporated non-profit organizations and incorporated associations founded by spontaneous citizens have increased with the influence of public interest system reforms.
Second, we could see three groups in terms of resource distribution. Agricultural and fishery organization or cooperative associations that were founded earlier had few staff members and little income. The associations that had close relationships with governments had more resources. Furthermore, new spontaneous associations that were founded since 1990 have relatively fewer resources.
It is worth noting how the Japanese third sector that has accumulated resources under governmental influence will be changing as new rising associations mature.